Improving democracy through an increased parliament
Tasmania’s experiment with a reduced parliament appears destined for the history books with the recent acknowledgment by Premier Lara Giddings that legislation to restore 10 seats to Tasmania’s House of Assembly will take place as soon as the Budget ‘turns around’. For almost half a century, Tasmania’s House of Assembly had comprised 35 seats but was reduced to 25 seats in 1998 in an attempt to reduce the influence of the Tasmanian Greens. Whilst tri-partisan support for a restored House of Assembly existed just last year, the Liberal Opposition withdrew their support following budget cuts to essential services including health and education. However with polling suggesting that the Labor Government is likely to lose a number of its parliamentarians at the next election, Premier Giddings is banking on improvements in the Budget and the hope that an increased parliament will see her government cling to power.